Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 12 - Zacapa

Hey Guys!

First thing: We didn’t run out of money this month! We finally got around to paying for electricity this month AND managed to save enough to break even for all of our needs. Unfortunately, that also means I have 50 quetzales left for the week (which is about 7.50 in American dollars) and we're living off of rice, bananas and eggs. Yesterday we had to starve, though, because we don’t buy things on Sunday (to keep it sacred.) I learned yesterday that I can't not eat and work. It was pretty awful, but now we have food again!

This week we had cambios, which is basically where the missionaries get relocated to different areas. This apparently happens every six weeks. My zone was going crazy this morning. Ten minutes after we finished studying scriptures this morning, two of the other elders came over and went OFF over the changes. Here's what happened:

 -Elder Mortensen, our zone leader and the only gringo who could fluently speak Spanish in our district, finished his mission and went home

-Elder Lott, another gringo who just finished being trained, is training another missionary 

-The districts were re-organized: The three gringos (me, Elder Lott, and Hermana Stoddard) were all put in one district, and my companion, Elder Franco, is the zone leader.

Elder Franco did NOT want to be zone leader. After we received the news, he freaked out a little bit, but now, he's more or less cool with it. It’s a stressful time for us in Zacapa, and we have no idea how our new district is going to turn out. We'll do our best, though. The only worry I have is that the other gringos speak about as much Spanish as I do, which isn't a lot.

I'm starting to become more comfortable with Spanish: it’s actually starting to sound like intelligent conversation rather than babbling. The Latinos tell me that I've picked it up a lot faster than the other gringos, but I still can’t understand half the things people say. Si lo fue mi decisión, yo seria fluente en Español ahorita, pero no puedo controlar la velocidad de mi crecimiento en la idioma. Paciencia...

I love you guys!! Thank you for all the support!! See you soon!!

Elder Reed 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Week 11 - Zacapa

The works slowed down a bit since the baptism. We've been all over the area, searching left and right, but no one has really shown any interest. One of our investigators is suffering from some kind of chronic migraine attack, and another might have cancer. The rain came again this week, and we had a nice downpour, not quite as strong as last time, but still pretty good.

This past week, we had Zone Conference, and I ran into Hermana Bertha there! That was pretty cool. We took a picture together, so if you’re getting e-mails from her, you'll get that picture. I didn’t have my camera at the time, unfortunately. Missionaries from all over the country were there, so I got to see a lot of my friends from the CCM, including my old companion, Elder Nawahine. 

This morning was probably one of the strangest I’ve had during my mission. After companionship study, I went to wash off some dishes at the pila, and noticed that in our backyard, one of our coconut trees was gone. Not any of our possessions, not even the motorcycle that’s in our backyard, with the keys sitting in the ignition; just our tree. That was really strange. Whoever took it did a good job, too: it looks like it never existed. Of everything that you could steal, a coconut tree. 

As I’ve been working and learning the language, I’ve had the words to verse 2 of the hymn "Come, Come, Ye Saints" in my head.

"Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
'Tis not so, all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward
if we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins, fresh courage take,
our God will never us forsake!
And soon we'll have this tale to tell:
All is well! All is well!"

I know that we all have our challenges, but no matter how alone you feel, no matter how dark the night may seem, no matter how long the road appears, or how much further you have to climb, I can promise you this: you are NEVER alone. There is always someone you can turn to, even when no one around you understands what you're saying or the way you feel. I’ve spent hours on my knees, calling out to my Heavenly Father, and I know he is with me, supporting me.

I love you all! Keep writing! Thank you for all of your support!! 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 10

Hola Familia y Amigos!!!

This week was pretty difficult on us. The good news is that Mario and Eva were baptized on Saturday! That was really cool. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, so I don’t have any pictures. That might have been a good thing that I forgot my camera, though, because while we were taking pictures, someone stole our recent convert's phone (not Mario or Eva's phone, a different convert). That was kind of annoying, especially because this convert is living with his wife and kid in their cousin's house. We're doing all we can to help them find a house and more stable work, but being missionaries, there’s really not much we can do.

We have a resident cat that keeps trying to eat our garbage and makes a mess of things everywhere, so that’s also kind of weird. 

A funny little bit about Elder Franco- I don’t know if I told you this already, but with his other companion, they were accustomed to eating pizza and food from a Chinese restaurant (of all places, a Chinese restaurant in Guatemala?) and then they would run out of money and starve for three days. This almost happened to us this last month, so today I am forcing him to come with me to a dispensa (store) and buy real food.

This week, also, we had an odd experience teaching one of our investigators. He had been acting different than he usually does during the lesson, and eventually, he said he didn’t want to learn anymore, and he felt like we were wasting our time. That was pretty disheartening, but we had the baptism the next day, so it’s OK.

I love you guys! Thank you for all the support!!! See you soon!
Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week 9

So this week we had divisiones, which means that we swapped companions with the zone leaders for a day. It was really awesome because the zone leader I was with is a gringo like me (Elder Mortensen) and he was able to give me a few helpful hints with Spanish. HEs actually gonna head home after this change, so his Spanish is beyond incredible. I’m still working on being able to understand people.
I miss all you guys! Did I write about the animal problem we´ve had in the last letter? We have a cat that likes to eat our garbage, and one day, a chicken wandered in to our house. Were still not exactly sure how it got in, maybe someone is messing with us.
 General Conference was phenomenal!! I loved all of the talks. It was literally like Christmas. Also, this Saturday Mario and Eva are going to be baptized! At least, that’s the plan. We´re working hard down here, and although its frustrating sometimes not being able to understand, Im learning to find joy in the work and I hope I can continue to serve with all my heart to the people.

 Just gonna share a quick piece of my testimony: I know that this church is true. I know that God, our Father, through the prophet Joseph Smith, restored his Gospel and because he did so, we know what his plan is for us in this life. We can receive glory and blessings beyond our wildest dreams, not only in the next life, but in this one as well!